Not to offend anyone, but homeowners can be some of the most difficult clients to work with. Whether it’s because they don’t understand the building process, have an unrealistic budget, can’t visualize what the home will look like from a bunch of drawings or they just can’t make up their minds, homeowners can often develop a disconnection with the builder.
However, it’s always been my philosophy that the most difficult challenges in life are often the most rewarding! And if you’re still reading this, thanks for hanging in there! I’ve been in the construction industry for quite a long time and have dealt with a wide range of personalities. The most essential skill required is communication.
The first step is to establish a high level of trust. I’ve been able to accomplish this by being as transparent as possible – nothing to hide. I’ve always been referred to as a straight-shooter, telling the truth rather than what someone wants to hear. The good and the bad.
Secondly, I always try to educate the clients to whatever degree necessary. A long time ago, I realized that most homeowners are not in the construction industry, and that their knowledge may be limited. This is what I do for a living, and I am always more than happy to share my knowledge with you. I believe that having a better understanding of the building process from start to finish, a client’s comfort level will increase, along with the level of trust in me.
As a project moves forward, keeping the client in the loop regarding the progress, schedule, budget, etc., seemingly makes them feel like part of the team, as they should. To use a professional sports team as an analogy, any team that has been successful has had an owner to thank. The owner puts his faith and trust in the coach, and the coach in the players. Taking pride in your work, being compensated for your efforts and having mutual respect from top to bottom, certainly creates a productive working environment.
When building a home, (regardless of the client), the decisions I make, the attention to detail and the effort I put forth is no less than if it were my own home. The relationships forged have consistently been lasting ones, with many of former clients I now consider friends.